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Alexandria Real Estate Begins Rollout Of AgTech Campus In North Carolina

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a REIT specializing in developing life science and tech campuses, sees demand from a rising niche of companies — AgTech. To capitalize, it has started two platforms focused on the industry, and has completed the first phase of development at its first property catering to AgTech tenants.

Alexandria Center for Ag Tech lobby
Alexandria Center for AgTech lobby

Alexandria Executive Chairman Joel Marcus said that there has been a dramatic surge in capital invested in the AgTech industry, with global venture capital funding up more than 40% in 2018 to nearly $17B. 

"Advances in precision farming, crop protection, gene editing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the microbiome aim to revolutionize our food system from farm to table," Marcus said.

Its first investment into the industry is the Alexandria Center for AgTech in the Research Triangle of North Carolina. The development will be similar to other tech campuses in its design goals. It will feature amenities, but also space that encourages collaboration among tenants and their employees.

Toward that end, Alexandria Center for AgTech's first phase — 5 Laboratory Drive, with office, lab and greenhouse space — has delivered with such adaptable spaces as a multifunctional lobby, which will serve as a place for informal meetings, as well as community and industry events.

The property's amenities include conference and event space and a fully equipped fitness center. There are also plans for a café and specialty coffee bar. 

The 175K SF 5 Laboratory Drive property is fully leased. Tenants include Arysta LifeScience, Boragen, Elo Life Systems, GreenLight Biosciences, Indigo Ag and Syngenta Crop Protection.

The campus' second phase, the 160K SF 9 Laboratory Drive, will further expand the office/lab and greenhouse space at the Alexandria Center for AgTech. Construction of phase 2 is underway, with delivery expected in 2020.

Alexandria has also rolled out two platforms: Alexandria LaunchLabs-AgTech and its complementary AgTech-focused Alexandria Seed Capital platform.

Alexandria LaunchLabs-AgTech, which is located at the Alexandra Center for AgTech, is a startup incubator for early stage AgTech companies. It provides its member companies with move-in-ready office/laboratory and greenhouse space. Alexandria Seed Capital Platform-AgTech provides investments in seed-stage companies in the sector.

Separately, Alexandria recently started work on Alexandria GradLabs in San Diego. The 98K SF development will be a flexible platform designed to provide post-seed-stage life science companies with furnished office/laboratory suites and room for growth.